By KBB.com Editors
Fresh from a major makeover last year, the Malibu sedan and Malibu Maxx wagon continue to offer consumers a strong incentive to move away from the leading imports and come home to Chevrolet. Loaded with unique features and based on a proven European platform, known in General Motors as the Epsilon, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx have strong appeal to consumers looking to get out of their gas-thirsty SUVs and into something fuel efficient, roomy and fun to drive. Although their engines and transmissions are not yet up to the standards set by Toyota and Honda, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx are far from outdated. Unfortunately, the pair still has some catching up to do in the area of residual and long-term resale values.
If you're looking for a mid-size sedan or hatchback with generous rear seat leg- and headroom plus an ample cargo hold, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx should be on your list. Those who spend hours in their cars will appreciate the excellent front seats.
If you're partial to Japanese-quality interiors, the Malibu probably won't cut it. Though clean, the overall interior is not up to the standard set by Mazda, Toyota and Hyundai. There is no manual transmission option, either.
The 3.5-liter V6 is fitted with variable valve timing (VVT) and front and rear head-curtain airbags are now standard on LS and LT trims.
Driving Impressions The Epsilon platform on which the Malibu rides shows itself once you start tossing the sedan into turns. The stiff body and firm suspension give up very little in the...way of body lean, squat or dive. The Malibu easily pushes through tight turns, hindered only by its touring tires that squeal once they near their limits. At a standstill, the power steering is so light you can turn the wheel with one finger. Once in motion, however, the steering quickly firms up to return accurate and linear road feel. The four-speed automatic performs admirably, with a convenient up/down shift button that lets you toggle through gears one through threea useful device when driving in snow.
Up/Down Shift Button
The up/down shift button on the automatic transmission lever lets you toggle between gears one through three.
Fold-Flat Passenger Seat
The Malibu's fold-flat front passenger seat increases cargo-hauling capability.
The Malibu's interior features large, legible gauges, a modern and clean center cluster and some of the best seats we've experienced in a Chevrolet. New colors and seat patterns definitely brighten the formerly monotone interior, but the plastic on the dash and door panels still needs some work. As for dimensions, the Malibu offers plenty of leg-, hip- and headroom both front and rear. The sedan's huge trunk also expands easily via the folding rear seat, while the Malibu Maxx wagon offers a sliding fore-and-aft split rear seat.Exterior
Though handsome, the Malibu's exterior sheetmetal holds nothing earthshaking. Standout features include large jewel-like headlamps, styling lines that curve over the front and rear wheel arches and a bright chrome bar splitting the grille. While the sedan and wagon are virtually identical from the B-pillar forward, the Malibu Maxx distinguishes itself via a large flip-up hatchback and an additional six inches between the front and rear wheels.
The Malibu LS includes, as standard equipment, a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine, air conditioning, power door locks, four cup holders, dual power mirrors, power driver's seat height adjustment, two 12-volt outlets, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, tachometer, cruise control, power windows, AM/FM stereo with CD, front and rear head-curtain airbags and full wheel covers. The LT trim adds the 3.5-liter V6 (Maxx only), 16-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth seats, body-colored mirrors, door handles and rocker panels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls. The LTZ adds automatic air conditioning, heated mirrors, side-impact airbags, heated leather seats, six-way power driver's seat, 17-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and power adjustable pedals.
Popular options include a power sunroof, OnStar, front seat side-impact airbags, six-way power driver's seat, auto-dimming interior mirror, XM Satellite Radio, remote control starter, rear-seat DVD entertainment system (Maxx only) and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.
The standard 2.2-liter engine is an underwhelming performer, but returns outstanding fuel economy considering the Malibu's size. The V6 models offer better power, with city/highway fuel economy almost equal to the four-cylinder. The new 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing accelerates briskly, with very little growl even under full throttle. Passing power is also excellent and, once up to speed, the engine is barely audible inside the passenger compartment.
2.2-liter in-line 4
144 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
155 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34
217 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
217 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (sedan), 20/29 (Maxx)
By jhdpayan on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 187,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great motor and gas milage"
Cons: "small interiors in comparison with similar models."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is a great car. The tank last for up to 300 miles in the city and almost 500 on highway. Powerful motor with a great response on the hill and never loss power. Perfect for heavy traffic, is easy to drive and great maneuverability. The car is trustworthy in the city and in the road. I definitely recommend it."
By Maxx what else on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"2004 Maxx LS. Great gas mileage, excellent get up and go, comfortable, good sound, versatile with rear seat fold down, convenient features. But the calipers, rotors, brakes in general - that's multiple hundreds of dollars over 10 years I've owned it. And, in our case 1200-1500 for front suspension work. And check engine light very hard to get turned off for inspections. Recent recall letters say no parts available for the problem. So, kinda costly to own but a good car overall for us."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By steve on Sunday, August 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 158,954overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car and quality."
Cons: "Seats are easy to stain."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 2006 Chevy Malibu back in 2010. I've bought the car with 50000 whiles on the head. Its a great family car with lots of room for a small family. I've driven the car all over Florida without breaking my pocket in the gas tank. I have even driven from Orlando to Panama City Beach off a single tank of gas. The car takes about 55 bucks to fill up if you are putting plus gasoline in. For a V6 it has amazing pick up. The car can do 120 with no problem without any cutting or lag. Also the car has a amazing stock sound system. The only thing I've had to replace on the since I had was break pads at about 80000, tire rods, rotaters , and a alignment at about 130000. For the most my Malibu has been a great reliable car."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Jordan on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I purchased my 2006 Malibu in 2009 with 48,000 miles on it. The car has had almost no issues between 48,000 miles and 100,000 miles. Around 100,000 miles I needed to get new tires, tie rod ends, break pads, battery, serpentine belt, and some fluid flushes. Most people would say that this is a fair amount of work at 100,000 miles, but I am sure I can get another 50,000 miles out of her with minimal investments from here on out. The car has fantastic gas mileage, and has held up well to Wisconsin and Iowa winters with no rust yet. I would buy this car again. I have never touched the AC and it still cools like it did 5 years ago.....which is more than I can say for other cars I have owned. This car has been 100% reliable.....beyond typical maintenance at 100,000 it was a solid buy from day 1."
By LK on Monday, August 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "It hasn't cost me a lot as far as mechanical fixes"
Cons: "Bad brakes, rusted quickly"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This was my first new car ever. I bought it new in 2005. I've had to have the brake pads replaced and the rotors machined three times since owning it, which I think is excessive. I had to replace the fuel pump in 2013. Other than that, the car runs well. It handles Iowa winters well. In 2014 it's just starting to show it's age."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By grannyGL on Friday, August 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "trouble free, comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am the single-owner of this car. I've had it for nearly 10 yrs and never done anything but routine maintenance. Gas mileage isn't what I'd hope (about 28mpg city, very short trips), but that has a lot to do with how watered-down the gas is. Best car I've ever owned!"